Padres News: Odrisamer Despaigne Moves to Bullpen


Last year Odrisamer Despaigne came out of nowhere to provide a solid addition to the Padres starting rotation as injuries arose, even coming close to throwing a no-hitter against the rival San Francisco Giants.

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Despaigne was essentially the fifth starter for the Padres all of this season as well, first filling in for an injured Ian Kennedy and then almost immediately after Kennedy returned filling in for the injured Brandon Morrow – which turned into a full-time gig. Now, as Jeff Sanders of the San Diego UT reports, that turn in the rotation at least for the moment will go to rookie Colin Rea.

Despaigne has impressed us all season long with his candor and desire to get better and better, holding his own standards far beyond “just happy to be here” – but projecting the fact that he hopes to be the ace of the staff someday. On a staff with several All Star’s and Cy Young finalists, that was quite the forecast for himself. That maturity has carried over into this new transition on the season, as he said Monday:

"“Being in the rotation is something I’d prefer, but I also understand that the team is asking me to go to the bullpen, so that’s what I’ll do. I understand my season has been a little uneven at times, so I’m happy to play my role and do what’s asked of me by the team.”"

Despaigne’s biggest problem seemed to simply be consistency. He would mostly either be really bad or really good. His ERA stands at 5.11. He is 5-8 in 17 starts and just over 117 innings. He had allowed 17 runs in his past 4 starts and did not get past the 6th inning in either. In fact on the season he only went past 6 innings in two starts.

He does add a valuable piece to the bullpen in the long relief role, and certainly he has shown he can excel under pressure in the past. His mix of speed, location, and arm angles is better suited to a starting role however, but in the interim he becomes the role that Tim Stauffer provided the Padres with for many years of utility reliever. He can start, pitch 3 innings in relief, and do it all with a good attitude while not losing sight of where he sees himself in the future.

Despaigne saw his home run rate double this season, his hit rate per nine innings increase, as well as a decrease by about a strikeout per game as well. Add it all up and you get that unsightly 5+ ERA. Let us not also forget that this is only his second major league season. As Despaigne pointed out himself, “Pitching in the big leagues is tough. These are some big league hitters. All I can do is keep improving myself, listen to my coaches, listen to their advice and try to get better.”

He will have about two months to watch, learn, and experiment with new ways to keep hitters off balance for the end of 2015. With a rotation spot likely opening up with Ian Kennedy being a free agent at the end of the season, Despaigne is likely to be right back in the mix Spring Training of 2016.

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